Like I had previously said, this week is ought to keep me on my toes. There are so many new releases that I am having a hard time to keep up pace with it. But we at popcorn reviewss have strived to give you the best of reviews at the earliest which will help you to choose the new content wisely. And so I have just finished watching the new Netflix Series Bombay Begums. With a stellar cast and a director who is known to be unapologetic, I had high hopes with this one. Does it manage to impress, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Bombay Begums is the story of five women from different walks of life and they look to stamp their authority in an otherwise male dominated society. If you have been familiar with Alankrita Srivastava’s filmography then she likes to focus on issues that women face and at the end also portray them as liberating which is great and refreshing to be honest. Here too, the story is pretty good and it portrays that such situations are also faced by women from the higher strata of our society. The screenplay closely follows these five women, firstly by making the audience familiar with their backgrounds and later each one of them dealing with problems. And some of the problems are actually relevant and need to be talked about. There are certain portions in the screenplay where I did not quite agree about a wife cheating on her husband, even though the man of the house was mildly patriarchal. But the other issues were tackled well. One drawback which I just couldn’t see past was that the writers try to double underline each issue. Through the narrator(in this case a 13 year old writing letters to her dead mother) who is not familiar with all the female protagonists draws parallels with the situation each one of them find themselves in. The whole point of an OTT is to keep the messaging subtle which would enhance the final impact of the screenplay. But otherwise, a job well done.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite subtle and they do leave a lasting impact. The BGM blends really well with the drama. Also I really liked the production design here. The director’s chair is shared by two individuals each directing three episodes. Alankrita Srivastava and Bornila Chatterjee both have been impressive. The scale on which the series was mounted coupled with some good direction is what stands out!
The performances are just outstanding. Nauheed Cyrusi and Sanghmitra Hitaishi shine in well written cameos. Rahul Bose as Mahesh has done a good job in an underwritten role. I really loved Danish Husain too as Naushad. Prashant Singh is decent as Lily’s love interest. Manish Chaudhary as Deepak is one character that has zero redemption. He is an absolute jerk who will make you angry and if you do evoke that feeling then Manish has done a terrific job. Vivek Gomber is such a fine actor who has already managed to impress in A Suitable Boy and Sir. Here as Fatima’s hisband who is mildly patriarchal, he has done a great job so much so that you start feeling sorry for the character. Imaad Shah as Ron is such a natural. Aadhya Anand as Shai has a likable quality to her. She is quite impressive. Plabita Borthakur as Ayesha is a complex character to pull off and Plabita has done a brilliant job. Amruta Subhash as Laxmi/Lily is such a natural and it was such a pleasure to watch her onscreen. Shahana Goswami as Fatima has the most complex role of the lot and she is simply terrific. The smaller conflicts and nuances to her character are so well portrayed, it is a role to cherish and savour. Pooja Bhatt returning after a long hiatus as Rani is the pick of the actors here. It seems she had never left. What a brilliant demeanor which she pulls off with aplomb in this acting masterclass!
We live in a society where we do not encourage to talk about the desires of a women. While Bollywood has been guilty of showing men cheating to eventually been forgiven at the end, it is almost a taboo if the roles are reversed. It is almost as if we as a society does not want to accept it and simply would brush things under the carpet. Bombay Begums is hard-hitting, relevant and liberating. Available on Netflix.